What does the Bible tell us about the Kingdom of God?
What will God’s Kingdom do?
When will the Kingdom cause God’s will to be done on earth?
MILLIONS of people worldwide are familiar with the prayer that many call the Our Father, or the Lord’s Prayer. Both expressions refer to a famous prayer given as a model by Jesus Christ himself. It is a very meaningful prayer, and a consideration of its first three petitions will help you to learn more about what the Bible really teaches.
2 At the beginning of this model prayer, Jesus instructed his hearers: “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.’” (Matthew 6:9-13) What is the significance of these three petitions?
3 We have already learned a lot about God’s name, Jehovah. And to some extent we have discussed God’s will—what he has done and will yet do for mankind. To what, though, was Jesus referring when he told us to pray: “Let your kingdom come”? What is God’s Kingdom? How will its coming sanctify God’s name, or make it holy? And how is the coming of the Kingdom related to the doing of God’s will?
WHAT GOD’S KINGDOM IS
4 God’s Kingdom is a government established by Jehovah God with a King chosen by God. Who is the King of God’s Kingdom? Jesus Christ. Jesus as King is greater than all human rulers and is called “the King of those who rule as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords.” (1 Timothy 6:15) He has the power to do far more good than any human ruler, even the best among them.
5 From where will God’s Kingdom rule? Well, where is Jesus? You will remember learning that he was put to death on a torture stake, and then he was resurrected. Shortly thereafter, he ascended to heaven. (Acts 2:33) Hence, that is where God’s Kingdom is—in heaven. That is why the Bible calls it a “heavenly kingdom.” (2 Timothy 4:18) Although God’s Kingdom is in heaven, it will rule over the earth.—Revelation 11:15.
6 What makes Jesus an outstanding King? For one thing, he will never die. Comparing Jesus with human kings, the Bible calls him “the one alone having immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light.” (1 Timothy 6:16) This means that all the good that Jesus does will last. And he will do great and good things.
7 Consider this Bible prophecy about Jesus: “Upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah. And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:2-4) Those words show that Jesus was to be a righteous and compassionate King over people on earth. Would you want to have a ruler like that?
8 Here is another truth about God’s Kingdom: Jesus will not rule alone. He will have corulers. For example, the apostle Paul told Timothy: “If we go on enduring, we shall also rule together as kings.” (2 Timothy 2:12) Yes, Paul, Timothy, and other faithful ones who have been selected by God will rule together with Jesus in the heavenly Kingdom. How many will have that privilege?
9 As pointed out in Chapter 7 of this book, the apostle John was given a vision in which he saw “the Lamb [Jesus Christ] standing upon the Mount Zion [his royal position in heaven], and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads.” Who are those 144,000? John himself tells us: “These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:1, 4) Yes, they are faithful followers of Jesus Christ specially chosen to rule in heaven with him. After being raised out of death to heavenly life, “they are to rule as kings over the earth” along with Jesus. (Revelation 5:10) Since the days of the apostles, God has been selecting faithful Christians in order to complete the number 144,000.
10 To arrange for Jesus and the 144,000 to rule mankind is very loving. For one thing, Jesus knows what it is like to be a human and to suffer. Paul said that Jesus is “not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15; 5:8) His corulers too have suffered and endured as humans. In addition, they have struggled with imperfection and coped with all kinds of sickness. Surely, they will understand the problems that humans face!
WHAT WILL GOD’S KINGDOM DO?
11 When Jesus said that his disciples should pray for God’s Kingdom to come, he also said that they should pray for God’s will to be done “as in heaven, also upon earth.” God is in heaven, and his will has always been done there by the faithful angels. In Chapter 3 of this book, however, we learned that a wicked angel stopped doing God’s will and caused Adam and Eve to sin. In Chapter 10, we will learn more about what the Bible teaches regarding that wicked angel, whom we know as Satan the Devil. Satan and the angelic spirit creatures who chose to follow him—called demons—were allowed to stay in heaven for a while. Hence, not all in heaven were then doing God’s will. That was to change when God’s Kingdom would begin to rule. The newly enthroned King, Jesus Christ, was to wage war on Satan.—Revelation 12:7-9.
12 The following prophetic words describe what would happen: “I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers [Satan] has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!’” (Revelation 12:10) Did you notice two very important events described in that Bible verse? First, God’s Kingdom under Jesus Christ begins to rule. Second, Satan is cast out of heaven down to the earth.
13 What have been the results of those two events? Regarding what happened in heaven, we read: “On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them!” (Revelation 12:12) Yes, the faithful angels in heaven rejoice because, with Satan and his demons gone, everyone in heaven is faithful to Jehovah God. There is complete, unbroken peace and harmony there. God’s will is being done in heaven.
14 What, though, about the earth? The Bible says: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” (Revelation 12:12) Satan is angry about being cast out of heaven and having just a short time left. In his anger he causes distress, or “woe,” on earth. We will learn more about that “woe” in the next chapter. But with that in mind, we could ask, How can the Kingdom cause God’s will to be done on earth?
15 Well, remember what God’s will is for the earth. You learned about it in Chapter 3. In Eden, God showed that his will is for this earth to be a paradise filled with an undying, righteous human race. Satan caused Adam and Eve to sin, and that affected the fulfillment of God’s will for the earth but did not change it. Jehovah still purposes that “the righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29) And God’s Kingdom will accomplish that. In what way?
16 Consider the prophecy found at Daniel 2:44. There we read: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” What does this tell us about God’s Kingdom?
17 First, it tells us that God’s Kingdom was to be established “in the days of those kings,” or while other kingdoms still existed. Second, it tells us that the Kingdom will last forever. It will not be conquered and be replaced by some other government. Third, we see that there will be war between God’s Kingdom and the kingdoms of this world. God’s Kingdom will be victorious. In the end, it will be the only government over mankind. Then humans will enjoy the best rulership they have ever known.
18 The Bible has much to say about that final war between God’s Kingdom and the governments of this world. For example, it teaches that as the end approaches, wicked spirits will spread lies to deceive “the kings of the entire inhabited earth.” For what purpose? “To gather them [the kings] together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” The kings of the earth will be gathered together to “the place that is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon.” (Revelation 16:14, 16) Because of what is said in those two verses, the final conflict between human governments and God’s Kingdom is called the battle of Har-Magedon, or Armageddon.
19 What will God’s Kingdom achieve by means of Armageddon? Think again about what God’s will is for the earth. Jehovah God purposed that the earth be filled with a righteous, perfect human race serving him in Paradise. What prevents that from happening right now? First, we are sinful, and we get sick and die. We learned in Chapter 5, however, that Jesus died for us so that we can live forever. Likely you remember the words recorded in the Gospel of John: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
20 Another problem is that many people do wicked things. They lie, cheat, and commit immorality. They do not want to do God’s will. People who do wicked things will be destroyed during God’s war of Armageddon. (Psalm 37:10) Yet another reason why God’s will is not being done on earth is that governments do not encourage people to do it. Many governments have been weak, cruel, or corrupt. The Bible frankly says: “Man has dominated man to his injury.”—Ecclesiastes 8:9.
21 After Armageddon, mankind will be under just one government, God’s Kingdom. That Kingdom will do God’s will and bring wonderful blessings. For example, it will remove Satan and his demons. (Revelation 20:1-3) The power of Jesus’ sacrifice will be applied so that faithful humans will no longer get sick and die. Instead, under Kingdom rule they will be able to live forever. (Revelation 22:1-3) The earth will be made into a paradise. Thus the Kingdom will cause God’s will to be done on earth and will sanctify God’s name. What does this mean? It means that eventually under God’s Kingdom everyone alive will honor Jehovah’s name.
WHEN DOES GOD’S KINGDOM ACT?
22 When Jesus told his followers to pray, “Let your kingdom come,” it was clear that the Kingdom had not come at that time. Did it come when Jesus ascended to heaven? No, because both Peter and Paul said that after Jesus was resurrected, the prophecy at Psalm 110:1 was fulfilled in him: “The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’” (Acts 2:32-34; Hebrews 10:12, 13) There was a waiting period.
23 For how long? During the 19th century, sincere Bible students calculated that the waiting period would end in 1914. (Regarding this date, see the Appendix.) World events that began in 1914 confirm that the calculation of these sincere Bible students was correct. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that in 1914, Christ became King and God’s heavenly Kingdom began to rule. Hence, we are living in the “short period of time” that Satan has left. (Revelation 12:12; Psalm 110:2) We can also say with certainty that soon God’s Kingdom will act to cause God’s will to be done on earth. Do you find this to be wonderful news? Do you believe that it is true? The next chapter will help you to see that the Bible really does teach these things.
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES
- God’s Kingdom is a heavenly government with Jesus Christ as King, and from among mankind, 144,000 are taken to rule with him.—Revelation 14:1, 4.
- The Kingdom started to rule in 1914, and since then Satan has been cast out of heaven down to earth.—Revelation 12:9.
- God’s Kingdom will soon destroy human governments, and the earth will become a paradise.—Revelation 16:14, 16.
1. What famous prayer will now be examined?
2. What were three of the things that Jesus taught his disciples to pray for?
3. What do we need to know about God’s Kingdom?
4. What is God’s Kingdom, and who is its King?
5. From where does God’s Kingdom rule, and over what?
6, 7. What makes Jesus an outstanding King?
8. Who will rule with Jesus?
9. How many will rule with Jesus, and when did God start to choose them?
10. Why is it a loving arrangement for Jesus and the 144,000 to rule over mankind?
11. Why did Jesus say that his disciples should pray for God’s will to be done in heaven?
13. What has been the result of Satan’s being cast out of heaven?
14. What has happened because Satan has been cast down to the earth?
15. What is God’s will for the earth?
18. What is the name of the final war between God’s Kingdom and the governments of this world?
19, 20. What prevents God’s will from being done on earth right now?
21. How will the Kingdom cause God’s will to be done on earth?
22. Why do we know that God’s Kingdom did not come when Jesus was on earth or immediately after he was resurrected?